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The rush light guttered.  It made for chilling reading.  Diana had borrowed

Mrs C’s copy of Burke and terrified herself by reading his summing up of

the aftermath of revolution.

They have found their punishment in their success.  Laws overturned;…industry without vigour; commerce expiring; the revenue unpaid,…the people impoverished;…everything human and divine sacrificed to the idol of public credit, and national bankruptcy the [likely] consequence.

Something cold touched the nape of her neck.  Bannocks!  That wasn’t The

Grey Lady, was it?  She wished it was a return of The Iron Lady, if only to

enjoy the spectacle of Wee Eck being told to stand in the corner- for a

couple of decades, with a dunce’s cap on his noddle.

It was late.  She shouldn’t frighten herself by reading any more.  She

would have nightmares. But she felt ashamed that she had not really

informed herself sufficiently, like many others, and now the Apocalypse,

like the Philistines, was practically upon them.

Aux armes, citoyens!  Wait a minute!  Whose side had they been on? 

She continued:

Were all these dreadful things necessary?  Were they the inevitable results of the desperate struggle of determined patriots, compelled to wade through blood…tumult to the quiet shore of a tranquil and prosperous liberty?  No!  Nothing like it.

The ruinations will not be the devastation of civil war; they [will be] ‘the sad but instructive monuments of rash and ignorant counsel in time of profound peace’…Not one drop of their blood have they shed in the cause of the country they have ruined.

Mrs C knocked on the door.

I’ve brought you a wee hot water bottle.  Well, it’s what we use.  Is

everything all right, dear?

Thanks.  Yes.  I don’t know.  Oh, Mrs C, listen to this!

If the leaders should be activated by sinister ambition, and a lust of meretricious glory, then the… Assembly, to whom at first they conform, becomes in its turn the dupe and instrument of their designs.  In this political traffic, the leaders will be obliged to bow to the ignorance of their followers, and the followers to become subservient to the worst designs of their leaders.

Och, the next bit is the one I like aboot inferior, mechanical members of their

professions who join projects which lay them open to lucrative deals.  He calls

such as they fomenters and conductors of the petty war of village vexation.

Nothing in heaven or earth can serve as a control on them.

Pretty pessimistic then?  Diana gathered her pashmina to her shoulders.

Weel, he says those who attempt to level never equalise and certain men ought not to suffer oppression from the state; but the state suffers oppression, if such as they, individually, or collectively, are permitted to rule.

Onywise, there’s little ye can do noo and ye huvnae the vote onywey.  The

Scots are never undecided.  You wait!  They’ll be gathering in their schiltrons

on Judgement- eh, polling day and woe betide onyone who dares tae meddle

wi’ their free consciences.  They can be gey thrawn and dinna appreciate

onyone assuming that they know whit they’re thinkin.’  Ah widnae like tae

be charging intae their solid line o’ pikestaffs.

Noo, wi’ a’ respect, put oot yer light and settle doon.